2 Minutes With … Olivia Alexander, CEO of Kush Queen
Olivia Alexander has grown Kush Queen into a multimillion-dollar, multichannel cannabis brand. The Kush Queen line includes award-winning bath bombs, pain relief lotions, wellness supplements, skincare products and more. Through the years, Olivia has worked with various cannabis companies across social media, creative direction and digital growth strategy.
We spent two minutes with Olivia to learn more about her background, her creative inspirations and recent work she's admired.
Olivia, tell us …
Where you grew up, and where you live now.
I grew up in a small town called Donaldsonville, La. Now I live in Dana Point, Calif.
How you first got interested in cannabis.
I showed up to a group presentation session in college. The session entailed passing around a giant bong. I tried cannabis for the first time and slept like a baby. Then I immediately got a medical card—and thus began my obsession.
One of your favorite projects you've ever worked on.
My favorite project is Kush Queen because she's my baby. There is nothing like creation, storytelling and connection—and I get to do it all with Kush Queen. I am proud to retain 85 percent of the company and bootstrapping has made it extremely rewarding. To know we have been on the shelves in California since 2016 makes my heart sing. Sure, there are bigger businesses out there. But my pursuit of KQ has been from a place of love and passion. To honor that journey and show people you can operate from a different place is really important to me.
The biggest challenge cannabis marketers face today, and how to approach it.
The biggest challenge is regulation, but I think this is where great work can be done. Rules aren't always fun, but I believe the challenges in cannabis create more opportunities.
One thing about how the cannabis industry is evolving that you're excited about.
I remember when you couldn't run ads in that many places. There has been so much progress from the marketing side and it's exciting to watch.
Someone else's work, in cannabis or beyond, that you admired lately.
A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.
I recently watched Five Days at Memorial, based on the Pulitzer prize-winning account of a group of doctors trapped inside Memorial Hospital in New Orleans in the days after Hurricane Katrina. My family lost everything in that disaster—while my aunt had terminal cancer. The story, while dark, resonated with me. I have a great respect for artists who take on stories this daunting. And while it hurts to watch, it's important to face these realities. Being born in Louisiana in a racially divided town has affected my life more than almost anything else. Seeing this TV show and the bravery in taking on this story from all sides has stuck with me.
A visual artist or band/musician you admire.
Kacey Musgraves. As a girl born in the South in 1988, her music really speaks to my soul. Her passion for music and cannabis is simply too much for my heart to take.
Your favorite fictional character.
Someone worth following in social media.
I am obsessed with a Gen-Z influencer named Victoria Paris. She's worth the follow if you want a glimpse into the world of an influencer with unique style and a truly rabid fan base.
Your main strength as a marketer/creative.
I am a storyteller, a feeler, and I lead with my gut. It's a good skill to have in an industry that has not yet placed storytelling as a top priority. Storytelling is at the heart of most great marketing.
Your biggest weakness.
I can't follow a budget to save my life. I have never ever met a budget. Budget? who is SHE? In my mind, I am a billionaire, so I vibe. Ask my team how much they love that character flaw! It's the cost of having vision.
Something people would find surprising about you.
I have baby lungs. Although I have been using cannabis for almost 20 years, I have very low tolerance and cough up a lung every single day.
One thing that always makes you happy.
My team. Every day I wake up and work with people who make my heart swell. The love I have for them brings me immense happiness and gratitude.
One thing that always makes you sad.
The inequality in the world and the division our country continues to face.
What you'd be doing if you weren't in the cannabis industry.
I would be the lead singer of an experimental rock/country band ... I'd be a degenerate musician.